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J Korean Med Sci ; 36(42): e295, 2021 Nov 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1497009


BACKGROUND: To minimize nosocomial infection against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), most hospitals conduct a prescreening process to evaluate the patient or guardian of any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 or exposure to a COVID-19 patient at entrances of hospital buildings. In our hospital, we have implemented a two-level prescreening process in the outpatient clinic: an initial prescreening process at the entrance of the outpatient clinic (PPEO) and a second prescreening process is repeated in each department. If any symptoms or epidemiological history are identified at the second level, an emergency code is announced through the hospital's address system. The patient is then guided outside through a designated aisle. In this study, we analyze the cases missed in the PPEO that caused the emergency code to be applied. METHODS: All cases reported from March 2020 to April 2021 were analyzed retrospectively. We calculated the incidence of cases missed by the PPEO per 1,000 outpatients and compared the incidence between first-time hospital visitors and those visiting for the second time or more; morning and afternoon office hours; and days of the week. RESULTS: During the study period, the emergency code was applied to 449 cases missed by the PPEO. Among those cases, 20.7% were reported in otorhinolaryngology, followed by 11.6% in gastroenterology, 5.8% in urology, and 5.8% in dermatology. Fever was the most common symptom (59.9%), followed by cough (19.8%). The incidence of cases per 1,000 outpatients was significantly higher among first-time visitors than among those visiting for the second time or more (1.77 [confidence interval (CI), 1.44-2.10] vs. 0.59 [CI, 0.52-0.65], respectively) (P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Fever was the most common symptom missed by the PPEO, and otorhinolaryngology and gastroenterology most frequently reported missed cases. Cases missed by the PPEO were more likely to occur among first-time visitors than returning visitors. The results obtained from this study can provide insights or recommendations to other healthcare facilities in operating prescreening processes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ambulatory Care Facilities/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cough/etiology , Fever/etiology , Mass Screening/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Ambulatory Care , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Female , Humans , Incidence , Infection Control , Male , Mass Screening/organization & administration , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Young Adult